News article

Coronavirus: Temporary change to carrier bag law

1 April 2020


With immediate effect, carrier bags used by retailers to deliver groceries directly via home delivery services will be free of charge

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has announced a temporary change to carrier bag regulations in a bid to stem the spread of COVID-19.

With immediate effect, carrier bags used by retailers to deliver groceries directly via home delivery services will be free of charge. The amendment to the carrier bag legislation will be in effect for a six-month period in the midst of the unprecedented challenges.

Reduce face-to-face contact
The decision to amend the carrier bag legislation has been taken in line with public health guidance and is aimed at the reduction of face-to-face contact between delivery drivers and members of the public who have ordered groceries online.

By providing bags free of charge the necessity for drivers to enter people’s homes and unpack delivery crates will stop. Instead, bags of groceries will be left outside and so the need to have direct contact with customers will become redundant.

In this way, all concerned can adhere to the official government guidance on social distancing. Another benefit of the move will be that it will speed up delivery services making life a little easier for everyone at the moment.

The temporary measure is for home delivery only and the Carrier Bag Levy will continue to be applied to all other bags used.


First published 1 April 2020